Patrick Reusse: Wolves' Ridnour displays look of a savior

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 8, 2012 - 1:13 AM

 The veteran has managed to survive and thrive despite playing shooting guard.

hide

Wolves guard Luke Ridnour moved the ball up the court in the fourth quarter during his 22-point performance against the Trail Blazers.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, ALL

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Timberwolves signed free agent J.J. Barea to a four-year, $16 million contract Dec. 12. It was early in the training camp for this shortened season, and there was an immediate question:

What does adding Barea to rookie Ricky Rubio mean for Luke Ridnour's future with the team?

The public stance from the Wolves was that they could use three point guards with the compact schedule, but it seemed unreasonable that Ridnour -- a nine-year veteran set to turn 31 -- would be able to handle limited minutes as a third-string point guard.

Coach Rick Adelman was extra concerned with the Wolves' ballhandling and talked about the possibility of putting a pair of point guards in the backcourt for stretches.

Those stretches have turned out to be large hunks of every game, with Ridnour serving as close to a savior for this club. He has shot the ball well, he has taken over a good share of the ballhandling and, somehow, he has managed to survive defensively against taller, thicker off guards.

On Wednesday night, Portland was at Target Center and opened with 6-8 Nicolas Batum as the off guard. This meant Ridnour would be giving away a half-foot in size, 30 pounds in heft and who knows what in vertical.

When the game was over, Ridnour had 22 points and five assists and Batum had nine points and one assist.

"Luke's a solid player, and tonight he made big shots,'' Adelman said. "They were switching the pick-and-rolls, trying to force Kevin [Love] to roll to the basket. Luke got aggressive and shot the jumper over their big [defender].''

Barea was hurt in the second game of the season and hasn't been a big factor. Adelman went with Ridnour as his starting point guard for the first seven games. The Wolves' new legion of fans had adopted Rubio and grumbled that he should be the starter.

That didn't happen until Game 11, and then Adelman put Rubio and Ridnour together in the backcourt. They have started 28 of 30 games since then -- the two exceptions being games missed by Ridnour to be with an infant son dealing with illness.

"The great thing about Luke is that he is solid defensively,'' Adelman said. "We always put him on someone taller. He plays smart and fights the guy.''

Ridnour went 8-for-16 from the field, 3-for-6 on threes. That was the same number of threes made by the Trail Blazers in 23 attempts.

Even though they were satisfied jacking up jumpers, the Blazers remained within 90-84 with six minutes left. Ridnour hit a jumper to put the lead at eight, then blocked a shot by Wes Matthews, came away a with rebound and missed a layup in a stretch of three seconds. The crowd announced at 17,118 was in a schizophrenic burst of cheers and groans, before Gerald Wallace's jumper cut the lead back to 92-86 with 4 minutes left.

Ridnour followed with the game's biggest bucket: a three to put the lead at nine with 3:21 left. The Wolves got home free for a 106-94 victory that put them in the last playoff spot (eighth) in the West.

The Lakers are coming to town Friday, but Adelman is a coach fixated on what's directly in front of him. This was a chance to win a game, so Love went the whole 24 minutes in the second half and 44:34 for the night. Ridnour played 21 minutes in the second half and 37 for the game.

Ridnour was the guard running the pick-and-roll with Love when the game was being decided.

"They were switching on the pick-and-roll, and that gave me some open looks,'' Ridnour said. "Luckily, some of them went in.''

Ridnour is as soft-spoken as a pro athlete can get. He got caught up in the train wreck of 2010-11 in his first season in Minnesota and didn't do much.

Many followers of the Wolves were ready to send him on his way after Barea was signed.

Adelman was not, and undersized Luke has been a big asset: handling and shooting the ball and, remarkably, as a defender against the Nicolas Batums of the world.

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500-AM. • preusse@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Washington - LP: T. Clippard 3 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Giles 4
St. Louis - LP: S. Maness 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson 5
Tampa Bay - LP: G. Balfour 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Brach 4
Boston - WP: J. Tazawa 11 FINAL
Toronto - LP: C. Janssen 7
NY Yankees - LP: B. McCarthy 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: R. Porcello 5
Atlanta - LP: A. Wood 2 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: D. Gee 3
Chicago Cubs - WP: T. Wood 3 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: J. Cueto 0
Cleveland - WP: B. Shaw 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Petricka 6
Minnesota - LP: G. Perkins 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: W. Davis 2
Oakland - LP: L. Gregerson 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: J. Fields 4
Los Angeles - WP: R. Hernandez 9 FINAL
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 5
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 2 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: M. Shoemaker 8
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Ross 4
Texas - LP: N. Martinez 0 FINAL
Seattle - WP: J. Paxton 5
Colorado - LP: J. De La Rosa 0 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 3
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:02 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 81 FINAL
Atlanta 80
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close